News / Africa

UN: Somalia Faces Growing Needs Amid Increasing Challenges

Multimedia

Audio

Marking World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations said Somalia remains one of the neediest countries in the world, but increasing security, operational, and funding challenges have hampered the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance this year in some parts of the country.

U.N. officials in the Kenyan capital paid tribute Thursday to humanitarian aid workers in Somalia, describing them as heroes who risk their lives to deliver aid to millions of Somalis affected by both conflict and natural disasters.

The U.N. Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, says while the humanitarian crisis in Somalia remains one of the worst in the world, the ability of aid workers to access people who need assistance is shrinking.  He says the situation is particularly worrisome in south-central regions, where Somalia's al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab has overwhelming control and influence.  

"Parts of Somalia are very difficult to get to," said Bowden.  "Agencies, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) find it difficult and dangerous to work in parts of Mogadishu, for example.  Aid workers have been targeted."

In the past two years, dozens of aid workers - mostly Somali - have been killed or kidnapped by armed insurgent groups.  Numerous humanitarian organizations, including the U.N.'s World Food Program, have been forced to shut down or suspend operations because of threats and attacks.

Maulid Warfa, a Somali aid worker working for the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, told VOA that even in communities where aid is welcomed, it is not easy to reach needy populations.

"Out of my 18 years of experience in Somalia, I have never had difficulties with the communities as such," said Warfa.  "But often, challenges come from warring groups, warlords, freelance militias, and others we call 'gatekeepers,' who want you to come through them before you get to the most needy people."

This year, the U.N.'s office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also had to contend with reduced humanitarian funding for Somalia, due in part to donor concerns over a U.N. report released earlier this year that accused the World Food Program of diverting up to half the aid for Somalia to corrupt contractors, Islamist extremists, and local U.N. workers.

Bowden says U.N. agencies are working to develop and implement new and better ways of providing humanitarian assistance in Somalia.

"We are putting more emphasis on employment generation," said Bowden.  "We have also introduced new mechanisms of greater accountability and transparency about how aid is given.  I hope that next year, we can address need more effectively than we have done this year, both in terms of improving access and in terms of the financial support we get for humanitarian assistance."

The United Nations says despite challenges, aid workers delivered food to 340,000 people in Mogadishu and nearly two million others throughout Somalia in the first six months of this year.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid